Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
"My body wasn't taken with me, the soul being a very spacious thing. Our dreams were correct: we would come to, over time, discover independent yet certain truths.
Discovery number one: it is lonely."
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
I'm getting bored with writing about movies I saw. I really like the idea of keeping a record, but recording something like this just seems pointless...
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
All this to say, I didn't like Sweeney Todd at all. The leads' had terrible voices and the music was god-awful dull. The cool story was just butchered (ha ha) -- I mean, I was so, so bored. And I love Victorian stuff, and I love Helena Bonham Carter, and I love gore and cannibalism and revenge. And yet I was bored from the very beginning through to the end. I wish they had just made it a straight dramatic movie, without the singing. And I wish someone other than Tim Burton directed it. His heavy hand was in every scene, every shot, never for a moment letting you forget who directed it...
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Dustin Hoffman was exactly Dustin Hoffman, doing everything that he does that makes him who he is and makes him so likable. Jessica Lang was charming. Teri Garr and Bill Murray were hilarious in supporting roles. Ah, 1985 was so long ago! 22 years. It's astonishing.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Of course, television and video games are identified as a big component in the declines of reading. There is a firm correlation between television watching, reading, and academic performance. Etcetera. This piece made proud to be someone who reads so much, and I look forward to my twilight years where I will be someone with that "arcane hobby" of reading actual books.
Cairn quoted Proust's description of reading as "that fruitful miracle of communication in the midst of solitude", which resonated with me quite a bit, being alone but much less alone with a book. Being in yourself, but also in communion with another mind, another voice.
Readers also do more than non-readers. We participate in sports, go to live entertainment events and museums and vote more than our non-reading brethren. Readers rock!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The quality of the DVD wasn't so hot. And for some reason there were all these chunks of dialogue they didn't bother to translate.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I really enjoy high concept pieces like Groundhog Day and the Spotless Mind thing. I like suspending my disbelief for these things, and I like the way I am mentally engaged in the concept. I like watching how they take the concept and work it out to it's end.
This was the perfect movie to watch while making my imperfect Oreo balls.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The special effects were really spectacular, and I can see why people like to see that kind of thing on "the big screen" -- but aside from a few breathtaking moments, this was just one long-winded piece of self-important childishness. Lordy, lordy, lordy.
I never cared much for the saving-the-world-from-unleashed-evil genre. Evil in the abstract is pretty meaningless to me. Not something I trouble myself over.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
The ending was REALLY good. I was expecting all the leads to be saved, but that wasn't the case.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I came home exhausted after a long draining day at work and curled up on the couch with the newest New Yorker (even though I haven't cracked last week's yet). I read a wonderful, funny, touching piece by David Sedaris on flying business class next to a sobbing Polish man. I know it is so... so... pedestrian to like David Sedaris, but I am not going to apologize. I think his prose his so smooth and witty; his essays are extremely well structured. I don't know what's not to like.
Then I read a review by Malcolm Gladwell, another favorite of mine, about a book on the race & IQ thing. I know that this has been in the news again recently, but can't we just table this ludicrous issue already? It was a good article, of course, but it is just so depressing that there are still people out there trying to prove that blacks are inferior.
Ethereal Elegance included beautiful acrylic on paper fashion paintings by Steven Stipelmen. These had a lovely, impressionist feel to them and some of them reminded me of Debuffy and Chagall.
Exoticism showcased clothing from all over the world that has inspired Western designers. The textiles and ornamentation were intense. Heavy fabrics weighted with beads and embroidery. A really cool pair of "granny boots" that were knee high and made of fabric that looked like old fashioned curtains.
Chic Chicago displayed "Couture treasures from the Chicago History Museum". Basically a ton of gorgeous, elegant clothes from all different eras. This was kind of my favorite.
Monday, December 10, 2007
He covers Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. Each chapter has a title like, "The Consolation for Inadequacy" (Montaigne) and includes a lot of information on the philosophers' life, on how they lived, as well as copious quotes and even pictures, sometimes oddly chosen.
My favorite sections were the ones on Montaigne and Schopenhauer -- both whom I personally related to. Neither whom I've read. I can't wait to go out and read Montaigne's Essays, although that will probably have to wait until after January. Surprisingly, I am most familiar with Nietzsche and was least engaged with that chapter ("The Consolation for Difficulties")
Some Schopenhauer quotes:
"We can regard our life as a uselessly disturbing episode in the blissful repose of nothingness"
"There is only one inborn error, and that is the notion that we exist in order to be happy... So long as we persist in this inborn error... the world seems to us full of contradictions. For at every step, in great things and small, we are bound to experience that the world and life are certainly not arranged for the purpose of maintaining a happy existence... hence the countenances of almost all elderly persons wear the expression of what is called disappointment."
I have never forgotten my Freshman Seminar professor exclaiming one day, for no reason I could discern, "Oh, poor Schopenhauer!"
Sunday, December 9, 2007
It was made in 1992 and I can't believe that was 15 years ago. That makes me feel old. Brad Pitt looked like a baby practically.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Freed from the drive-in prison of single-mindedness
He turns effortlessly to the highway drama
Of the heart's debate with the so-called "verifiable" world...
Thursday, December 6, 2007
But, I am pleased to say that I was very pleasantly surprised by Ratatouille -- the story of a rat who wants more out of life, more out of food in particular. He loves food, as a gourmet and gourmand. I don't feel like detailing the plot, but I didn't feel like it was predictable at all. I was genuinely engaged. I thought it was terrific and bet it will inspire a lot of children to become bourgeois foodies in the best and worst sense of the term.
One thing I really liked: it was not too cute. At certain points when they showed swarms of rats I was appalled and chilled. I liked that they didn't cutify ratness to the point of unrecognizability (a la Mickey Mouse).
Simon Pettet was fabulous as well. His work reminds be of Brenda Coultas' in one particular way: both poets give me the impression that each word comes at great cost; is written through something; chosen with difficult deliberation. Simon read a number of his poems twice, which created a weird, haunting effect and allowed you to really hear them. Often when I am at readings, words wash over me, a few sticking here and there, a few lingering. But Simon's technique let me hold his poems in a way I never had before.
I bought both his books: More Winnowed Fragments and Selected Poems
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
It is the perfect holiday movie. Et il est en francaise!